Designing/implementing a website is hard work and you are an amazing
person for being willing to take on the job. In response to your
request for feedback, already many have chimed in and given excellent
advice. I wanted to add "useability/accessibility" to the list of
things to consider, and then ask about the intended audience and goal.
Accessibility guidelines and contrast:
The "gray on gray" text has a contrast ratio of 3:1, which doesn't
meet useability/contrast guidelines (WebAIM
Some useful addons for checking accessibility issues:
Unfortunately the color contrast tests provided by the above links
don't work on the mockup because for some reason all the tools assume
the background for the text is solid black, when really it's gray
(according to Firebug, the actual background is transparent; the text
is on top of a tiled textured gray background image - a pure css
background would weigh less and perhaps be less distracting for those
of us with less than perfect eyesight).
I used Colorzilla to sample the gray text and background and got a
contrast ratio of 3:1 (according to WebAIM, #efefef for the
background, #888888 for the text gives 3:1 contrast ratio). 3:1 is
minimum for large text, 4.5:1 is suggested; 4.5:1 is minimum for small
text, 7:1 suggested (18px is not large text, especially not when you
get older and your eyes start to not let in so much light and you need
to be farther from the screen to focus, etc).
Font type and size:
The font stack specifies Open Sans, Arial, and Helvetica, none of
which are included in "out of the box" Linux distributions such as
Ubuntu, Debian, and openSUSE. The css/html code pulls 6 variants of
the Open Sans font from
http://themes.googleusercontent.com/static/fonts/. A suitable cross-OS
font stack might be better than calls to an external website.
The links at the bottom of the page use a 12px font, and Arial and
Helvetica are "smaller" sans-serif fonts (at the same font size, the
various fonts have radically different actual screen sizes, Verdana
for example being much bigger than Arial). So the 12px text is doubly
The current Gimp website doesn't go any smaller than 13.333px. Current
recommendations are pushing towards 16px for the base font:
People who can't comfortably read the smaller font have the option to
set a minimum font size with their browers. When I set a minimum size
of 16px, the design breaks: "Download" is shoved under "Gimp" at the
very top of the page. The "Linux" download link takes two lines
instead of one, so the box is twice as tall as the Windows/Mac boxes.
The best way around this problem is to use a fluid layout, which I
think you are already working on because of mobile browsing (mobile
browsing already accounts for 20% of all web browsing and the numbers
are accelerating). If you aren't already, you might also consider
"responsive" web design:
Time to download and assemble the page on the screen:
The redesign takes a noticeable amount of time to load on my computer.
Before the page is fully loaded, for a brief moment the page looks
disorganized, then the images and text rearrange themselves into their
intended positions. I poked around a bit trying to locate what might
contribute to the time it takes to get the page on the screen; here
are some possibilities:
There are several shadow effects in use. In general, the more shadows,
the longer it takes to load and assemble the web page. Personally I
find the white shadow under the text to be distracting: the shadow is
almost too small to see and on my low-end laptop screen the white
shadow appears/gets smaller/disappears as I change my angle of view.
Probably you haven't resized the images for "production", but at 450kb
for the header image, plus approx. 225kb each for the slideshow
images, the images are much larger than they need to be, and there is
a noticeable lag in image display when returning to/refreshing the
The slideshow has continously changing images, which personally I find
a bit distracting. I'd prefer the option to start the slideshow
voluntarily rather than have it download "whether or no" and then
constantly going in the background.
security risk. A pure css slideshow/gallery would lighten up the
required download. Although the existing Gimp website uses 5
Anything that causes the page to take a somewhat longish time to load
and assemble would put a strain on browsing the Gimp website for
people with older computers, lower bandwidth and/or monthly download
limitations (most mobile devices, plus desktop computers with caps or
slow internet connections). Also, these days when ranking websites
Google does consider download size and other
I'm curious as to the "use case" for a blogging engine, which would
add its own additional weight to the download, along with possible
Who's the intended audience and what's the goal of the redesign? As a
long-time Gimp user, I visit the Gimp website often to catch up on the
latest news and to follow links to IRC, documentation, downloads, etc.
As others have noted, it's nice to have the news on the front page.
The existing website is perhaps too heavily weighted toward people who
already use Gimp and the proposed redesign seems to be aimed mostly at
attracting new users. Will it be effective at this goal? Trying to
view it as a potential new user, it somewhat feels like I'm viewing a
product advertisement - high on nice visuals and lead-ins, but perhaps
not enough concrete information.
I don't claim expert status (far from), but I'm responsible for
several small websites and possibly I can help if you run into issues
with trying to code up the fluid and/or responsive layout, creating
font stacks, etc.
http://ninedegreesbelow.com - articles on open source digital photography
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